Kawhi Leonard scored eight of his 36 points in the second overtime period on Sunday to lead Toronto Raptors to a gritty 118-112 victory over Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Eastern Conference finals.
The Raptors, who dropped the first two games of the best-of-seven series in Milwaukee, clawed their way back in front of home fans and will try to level the set when they host game four on Tuesday.
Pascal Siakam scored 25 points and Spanish center Marc Gasol added 16 for the Raptors, who got off to a quick start and led much of the night but had to battle to put the Bucks away.
Milwaukee’s MVP finalist Giannis Antetokounmpo struggled to just 12 points on five-of-16 shooting.
Antetokounmpo didn’t reach double figures in points until the middle of the fourth quarter, although his 23 rebounds helped the Bucks stay in touch.
Antetokounmpo fouled out in the first minute of the second overtime period. Moments later the Bucks managed to edge ahead 105-103, but Leonard and the Raptors roared back.
Leonard’s steal and dunk put Toronto ahead 112-109 and his driving bank shot gave Toronto a 114-110 lead with 32.4 seconds remaining.
Toronto had a chance to win it in regulation, but they let a 96-91 lead slip away in the final 1:13 of the fourth quarter.
Milwaukee guard Khris Middleton’s putback basket from his own miss with 2.2 seconds left in regulation forced overtime.
The Raptors led 103-99 with 1:29 remaining in the first extra session.
But Malcolm Brogdon floated in a shot and George Hill drained two free throws to tie it before Leonard’s jump shot fell short.
The Raptors overcame a slow night from Kyle Lowry, who scored 11 points and played in foul trouble much of the night before fouling out with 6:12 left in the fourth.
The result: Toronto 118 (Kawhi Leonard 36, Pascal Siakam 25, Marc Gasol 16, Kyle Lowry 11, Norman Powell 19) bt Milwaukee Bucks 112 (Giannis Antetokounmpo 12, Nikola Mirotic 10, Brook Lopez 16, Eric Bledsoe 11, Malcolm Brogdon 20, George Hill 24). Bucks lead 2-1 .